Karlštejn Castle ceremonially reopens after three-year reconstruction

The 675-year-old monument – one of Czechia's most-visited – now offers various new exhibitions and a visitors' center.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 21.04.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 21.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Karlštejn Castle reopened in full today after having been partially closed for over three years due to extensive reconstruction works. 

The redevelopment of the Gothic castle – costing over CZK 160 million – sought to restore the basement of the Imperial Palace among other areas. The owners of the castle also added new exhibitions and a modern visitor center in the widescale renovation that began in March 2020.

Redevelopments and new features

One new exhibition is dedicated to the creation of the castle and its past renovators, and another shows the history of winemaking in the Karlštejn area. A carpentry exhibition is also open to visitors, and workers have finished renovating a section of the castle’s cellars.

Work was also done on the four vineyard terraces on the south side of the castle.

Karlštejn Castle – reachable from Prague in about 75 minutes by public transport – remained open to the public since works began, but some of its sections were closed. Restoration work will continue at the castle, according to its main warden Lukáš Kunst.

An important Czech monument

Minister of Culture Martin Baxa attended today’s ceremony and said that the castle was a place where the heavenly and earthly spheres met.

Director of the National Institute of Monuments Naďa Goryczková said today that the redevelopment was necessary, as prior to the reconstruction the castle looked “undignified.” She noted that the castle had been “repaid” after having provided so much to visitors in past decades.

Karlštejn was opened to the public in 1905 and in 1962 was declared a national cultural monument.

In 2019, the castle welcomed about 215,000 visitors.

Rich in history

One of the most-visited monuments in the entire country, Karlštejn Gothic Castle was founded by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1348. It was built as a place to store royal treasures – mainly collections of holy relics and imperial crown jewels. 

During the Hussite Revolution of the 15th century, the jewels were taken out of Karlštejn and transported abroad. In the middle of the 16th century, it was rebuilt in a Renaissance style.

The Swedish army conquered the castle in 1648 following the Thirty Years’ War, after which it fell into disrepair. Czech architect Josef Mocker carried out a reconstruction of the castle at the end of the 19th century, which resulted in its current look.

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